Virtualisation costs and complexities constrain implementation of business continuity

A new survey has found that whilst businesses realise that business continuity and disaster recovery planning could be improved by virtualisation, the average firm is not able to implement the necessary changes because of budgetary restrictions and a lack of internal expertise.

In a survey of 681 IT professionals carried out by InformationWeek, 37 per cent said that they either did not have a business continuity plan, or were in the process of developing one, but had yet to actually implement it.

One respondent pointed out that justifying disaster recovery was difficult for those in IT management and it only became viable after an incident of data loss had seriously affected firms in a tangible way.

Virtualisation has many benefits over traditional storage and backup solutions, as it moves the emphasis from high-end hardware which is often under utilised by current generation software platforms and places it on eliminating downtime, according to experts.

The study found that some 21 per cent of the respondents were partially virtualising their disaster recovery planning, with around 20 per cent of the environment handled virtually, whilst the remaining 80 per cent continues to be managed physically.

34 per cent said that they were not planning to implement virtualisation in relation to business continuity or disaster recovery in the near future.

The respondents who were not currently interested in virtualisation indicated that in 45 per cent of cases they are not able to find vendors who offered native support for their applications. 27 per cent of non-virtualised businesses say that the costs of migrating are too high, whilst 20 per cent cite a lack of in-house expertise on the subject.

Of the businesses that did implement virtualisation for disaster recovery and business continuity, approximately 20 per cent said that they would not consider using their internal systems for any other purpose than enabling data backup in the event of a crisis. Over half said that they would make use of these physical platforms for other purposes as a result of the lighter load afforded by virtualisation.

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